Pensioner guilty of failing to account for investment funds

By Corey Charlton of Hawke's Bay Today -

A man accused of deliberately failing to account for $243,000 given to him to invest on international stock markets has this morning been found guilty.

The Napier District Court jury took around 90 minutes to find Peter Jonatahn Rens, 73, guilty on 12 counts of theft by a person in a special relationship.

Over the course of the four day trial, the court heard how he had taken payments from 12 different people - sums ranging from $5000 to $105,000 - to invest on their behalf on international stock markets.

Now, eight years later, none of the investors have received their money back, nor any supposed profits made, despite their attempts to do so.

Rens had claimed he had no idea where the money was but that he had not deliberately failed to account to the group of investors.

Evidence during the trial stated there was a bank account created in the Caribbean, a company registered in the Dominican Republic and accountants based in Uruguay for the investment scheme.

It was part of an overly "intricate" investment structure that may have been his undoing, his lawyer said.

Rens, originally from South Africa, originally met some of the investors at the Hawkes Bay Gliding club and in 2004 and 2005 took a series of payments that eventually totalled $243,000.

He was released on bail for sentencing in February.

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